Virginia Record Sealing & Expungement Blog

What is the expungement process in Virginia?

Last updated: December 29th, 2023

What is expungement in Virginia?

Expungement is a process where an individual who has been arrested and charged with a crime, but who was NOT convicted, can have police and court records of the arrest and charges removed from public view.

Expungement in Virginia removes the charge from your criminal record and all court records. After a charge is expunged, your criminal record will not show that you were arrested or charged. The court records are also removed so that the public can no longer see or access your criminal charge.

Who qualifies for an expungement in Virginia?

  • Under section 19.2-392.2. of the Virginia code, individuals may seek to have police and court records expunged in the following circumstances:
  • When someone has been acquitted by a judge or jury (after pleading “not guilty”).
  • When someone charged with contempt of court in a civil action is determined not to not be guilty.
  • When the prosecutor chooses not to prosecute a charge and a nolle prosse is entered.
  • When a charge is “otherwise dismissed.” This can include a resolution of a criminal charge by “accord and satisfaction.”
  • When someone is the victim of identity theft and there are criminal charges in their name that they were not properly charged with.
  • When someone convicted of a crime receives an absolute pardon.

What is the expungement process?

An expungement in Virginia must be ordered by a Circuit Court judge from the jurisdiction where the defendant incurred the charge.

  • A petition (legal motion) must be filled in the Circuit Court.
  • The petitioner must have their fingerprints taken and provided to law enforcement.
  • The petition must be served on the Commonwealth Attorney.
  • Finally, the judge must find the existence of the charge results in “manifest injustice.”
  • If the judge finds “manifest injustice,” then the charge will be ordered to be expunged.

Contact Clean Slate Virginia to see if you qualify for an expungement.


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